Handbags are more than just an accessory to carry your keys, wallet, and other necessities. They’re the ultimate combination of function and fashion, perfectly blending utility with sophistication and style. With so many styles of handbags to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which best fits your lifestyle and needs. There are different kinds of handbags for different occasions, whether you’re taking a trip to the beach, heading to the gym, or getting ready for a night out. Not sure which kind of handbag to carry for your next outing? No problem, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll explore the various types of handbags, so you can easily decide which are must-haves for your closet.

Styles of Handbags

Tote Bag 

image of tote bag types of handbags

The tote bag is a simple, yet sophisticated design that is perfect for those days when you have a few extra items to carry. Some defining characteristics of totes include a square or rectangular shape, short straps, a structured design, and few to no pockets. This style is sometimes referred to as the “shopper’s bag” because it can hold several items at once. A canvas tote is ideal for a day at the beach, while a leather tote is more appropriate for the office.

Bucket Bag

image of bucket bag

Just like the name implies, the bucket bag is spacious enough for all of your belongings. This bag shape is known for having a structured bottom, a slouchy body, and a drawstring closure. Its unique design allows ample room for larger items, like a pair of sandals or a lunch bag. If you’re an on-the-go kind of gal, a bucket bag is ideal for you!


image of satchel style handbag

The satchel is known for its versatility. It’s one of the few types of bags for men and women alike, as it is a great design for those who prioritize organization, like students or professionals. Satchels typically have a flat bottom, a rectangular shape, buckles or clasps for closure, and a cross body strap. Because they’re usually larger in size, satchels are great for carrying a laptop, books, or other heavy items. Surely you’ve heard of the Hermès Birkin bag, one of the most recognized satchel bags. The brand’s iconic design is known to be a favorite of famous fashionistas like Heidi Klum and Victoria Beckham.

Hobo Bag

image of hobo bag

Remember when you were a child, and your favorite cartoon character would carry around a bindle sack tied to a hobo stick? Interestingly enough, this was the inspiration for the design of the modern hobo bag. Usually crescent shaped with a short shoulder strap, hobo bag purses are great for casual, everyday wear. Its unstructured design gives the hobo bag a distinct, relaxed look without compromising space. Its roomy interior can easily carry the essentials, and then some!

Duffel Bag

image of duffel bag types of handbags

Gearing up for a weekend getaway with friends? We have the perfect bag for you! The duffel bag is a must-have when packing for short trips, and is aptly nicknamed “the weekender” bag. Duffel bags can be recognized by their horizontal, cylindrical shape, top zipper, and two top handles. To ensure durability for travel, duffel bags are usually made from quality, weatherproof materials. Though there are different types of travel bags, the duffel bag is a favorite for the no-fuss traveler who prefers to pack light. Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Prada have created designer duffel bags for the ultra-chic jet-setter.

Backpack Purse

image of backpack purse

When you think of the various types of  bags for school, backpacks are likely the first thing that comes to mind. But this popular academic necessity has evolved into a fashion forward accessory that complements practically any ensemble. If you’re an active go-getter, a backpack purse is perfectly suited for you. The convenient, hands-free design of a backpack makes carrying your valuables comfortable and easy. Great for a day trip to an amusement park or museum, a backpack purse guarantees you’ll have room for water, sunscreen, and even a souvenir or two. For a dressier look, opt for a leather backpack with polished hardware.

Saddle Bag

image of saddle bag types of handbags

As its name indicates, the saddle bag was once an accessory used by equestrians to carry important items while riding. These bags attached directly to the horse’s saddle for quick and easy accessibility. Contemporary designs haven’t changed much, and key features like its round shape, cross body strap, and fold over flap are still signatures of the saddle bag. True to its equestrian roots, the saddle bag is almost exclusively fashioned from leather and often features metal hardware and embossed leather detailing.

Messenger Bag

image of messenger bag types of handbags

The messenger bag is a classic, sensible handbag that was first used by mail carriers and bike messengers, most of which were actually men. Messenger purses are primarily worn for their utility, and are great for scholars and executives alike. The thin, wide construction of a messenger bag allows ample space for a notebook or laptop. The cross body strap helps balance the weight of these types of heavier items.

Frame Bag

image of frame bag

Searching for a handbag with a vintage inspired appeal? Reminiscent of the coin purse your grandmother likely carried in the 20’s or 30’s, frame bags are a romantic nod to designs from the past. Defining features of frame bags include a rectangular or trapezoid shape, a metal frame, and a kissing lock closure. Two round, metal balls snap together, or “kiss.” The structure of frame bags is slightly relaxed, but the metal frame helps the handbag maintain its shape. Pair with a strand of pearls and red lipstick for a truly classic look.

Baguette Bag

image of baguette handbag

The baguette bag was arguably the most popular style of handbag in the late 1990’s. Fendi created the first baguette bag in 1997, and it wasn’t long before it became one of the trendiest designs of the decade. The bag was even featured on numerous episodes of the television hit, Sex and the City, cementing its iconic status. This dainty handbag is perfect for toting the basics, with a small strap that can be worn either on your wrist or shoulder. Wear for a night out with friends or a romantic date night for an extra touch of femininity.


image of clutch bag

Have you ever made the mistake of lugging your large handbag to a wedding or night on the town? If so, you know how cumbersome it can be to try to dance, drink, and celebrate while carrying what feels like a bowling bag. Thankfully, this problem is easily solved by wearing a clutch instead. The clutch is a petite handbag that can be used to carry smaller items like your favorite lipstick. Great for pairing with formal ensembles, clutches can be found in a variety of colors, shapes, and styles. Their lightweight design guarantees you’ll never feel weighed down while trying to enjoy yourself.


image of minaudiere bag

The minaudière bag is a variation of the clutch, designed specifically to wear to formal, black tie events. These small, structured purses are usually fashioned with beads, crystals, or sequins for an extra glamorous look. Shopping for your next gala or ball? A minaudière bag is the perfect accessory to take your look to the next level.

Shop Designer Handbags in San Diego

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